The largest threat to endangered species is habitat destruction. Human populations have been increasing at exponential rates since the last industrial revolution (the discovery of fertilizers and machines that have boosted agricultural productivity far past what was previously thought possible). With human populations growing at an exponential rate, more natural habitats are being destroyed in favor of cropland to support humans. Croplands remain the only land use type to consistently grow, while other land use types, such as those that provide endangered animals’ habitats, continue to shrink.
Another issue with population growth is that it causes barriers to migration for many species. Roads, housing developments and especially highways make it impossible for ground travel between habitats, and loss of vegetation and trees can make travel impossible for some birds and butterflies who require “rest areas” during migration.
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